Alicia-Pearl Cato and Tobi Alexandra Falade both studied Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon College of Art. Frustrated by the lack of diversity in the references they were offered and around them, they decided to create a platform called Represent to provide what they felt was lacking. Initially this took form as an event funded by the Student Union.
When a member of the Creative Shift team attended this first event a partnership was formed to continue building the platform for underrepresented students across UAL. Creative Shift offered funding and support to create and deliver the event while Represent researched speakers, themes proposed a structure and took the lead on hosting the initial events.
The events included talks and panel discussion with speakers Chiizii, Man like Mike, Tomisin Adepeju. As a result of the success of the first Creative Shift x Represent collaboration, another was planned for 12th March 2020 in celebration of Woman’s month. This time the event was a workshop and an in conversation with Kione Grandison, Shannon Bono and Anjelica Roselyn.
In response to lockdown, Represent developed an experimental space for Alicia-Pearl, Tobi and Creative Shift team to explore new remote offerings. The outcomes were a blog, an online crit and a series of events called Represent Conversations.
The crits and conversations were hugely successful, welcoming black student across the UK and centring experiences from UAL.The conversations felt especially important at this time, especially against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter Movement gaining traction. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with students demonstrating how safe they felt in the space by sharing negative personal experiences they had endured and offering support and understanding to one another.
By working with Alicia-Pearl and Tobi, Creative Shift have gained massive insights in how to run student led projects and creating frameworks for students to develop and deliver events for each other, while gaining invaluable experience and building up their professional networks.
Currently Represent are planning next steps and new events for the coming academic year, you can keep up with them through their Instagram @represent.art.ldn